Universal’s live-action adaptation of DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon has found its human riders.
Mason Thames, who starred in Universal’s horror hit The Black Phoneand Nico Parker, the rising actress who was last seen in HBO’s The Last of Usare set to star as Hiccup and Astrid in the feature being directed by Dean DeBlois.
Universal has dated the feature for a March 14, 2025, release and is planning on a film shoot this summer.
Using the books by Cressida Cowell as a jumping-off point, How to Train Your Dragon focused on the special friendship between a young and unheroic Viking boy named Hiccup and Toothless, an injured dragon he nurses back to health. The movies chronicled Hiccup and Toothless’ quest to combat humanity’s prejudice against dragons, the pain of overcoming the loss of a parent, and first love.
The character of Astrid travels her own arc through the trilogy, moving from someone who has disdain towards the dragons to bonding with one of her own, and moving from a foil to Hiccup to becoming his confidante and eventual partner.
Jay Baruchel voiced Hiccup in the animated trilogy while Astrid was voiced by America Ferrera.
The search for the live-action counterparts took many months with the story looking for actors who could grow into the roles as much as the characters themselves grew into maturity in the movie franchise. The franchise was unique in that each installment made jumps in the age of the protagonists to highlight life events and make it a true “coming-of-age” story.
DeBlois is writing and directing the project. Producing are three-time Best Picture Oscar nominee Marc Platt and Adam Siegel via Marc Platt Productions.
VP of production development Lexi Barta will oversee the film on behalf of Universal.
Fifteen-year-old Thames appeared on three episodes of Apple TV’s acclaimed drama, For All Mankindbefore nabbing the lead in Black PhoneScott Derrickson’s adaptation of the Joe Hill short story produced by Blumhouse and released by Universal in 2022. The movie proved to be a box office and commercial hit, putting Thames on the radar for other teen roles.
The actor now has two movies in the can, coming-of-age party comedy, Incomingand adventure-thriller Boys of Summer with Mel Gibson. He is repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment.
Parker made her acting debut as a lead in Tim Burton’s live-action adaptation of Dumbo, made by Disney in 2019. She did a stint on HBO series The Third Day opposite Jude Law and Naomie Harris and appeared in Lisa Joy’s sci-fi mind-bender Reminiscence with Hugh Jackman. In Last of Usone of the biggest hits from HBO in years, she played the daughter of the dangerous would-be lone wolf survivor played by Pedro Pascal.
The actress, who will be seen next opposite Woody Harrelson and Laura Linney in Laura Chinn’s suncoast, is repped by WME and Curtis Brown.
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